Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In hand

Last night, I brought the herd in from the big field because I had soaked some beet pulp and I didn't want it to spoil. When I took Scout and Annie in from the field, Yalla! and Nadia went crazy, running and neighing. I was afraid Yalla! would hurt herself on the barbed wire since she's never been around it before so I hurried the two-in-hand to the barn so that I could go back and bring the other two home before they got hurt.

When I got to the field, Nadia and Yalla! had settled down somewhat so I haltered them and we walked back to the barn. We met up with some dogs which, thankfully, the neighbor called in to the house so they didn't bother us.

I put them in their stalls and even though they had been eating all day long they were neighing for the beet pulp mash. They all love it. I give Annie and Nadia most of it but I give some to Scout and Yalla! too.

After they had eaten, I could tell they were tired and happy to be back at the barn so I gave them hay (??) and said goodnight.

I thought about my walking the pairs to and from the field and decided that I would try to walk all four at once. I've seen lots of photos of stable hands walking four and six broodmares together so I thought, 'yes, I can do it! I will go slow and I'll actually get done faster than if I walk the pairs. It'll be safer too, because they won't be having herd anxiety.'

So, that's what I did. It was very challenging, to say the least, to get started. I haltered each one and kind of threw the rope over the barn doors until I had all of them in the aisle. Then I took Yalla! and Annie by their halters and let Nadia and Scout trail behind at the end of their lead ropes. Once we were through the gate- challenging- and out in the fields we walked pretty well. Once Yalla! balked and then moved right on again when she realized the whole herd wasn't stopping. Another time, Annie gave a little rear which surprised me and I'm not sure why. I was too busy juggling ropes. Most of the time, Nadia's lead rope was across Yalla!s neck and back. Anyway, I have to say that it went better than I really expected. Sorry, no photos, hands were FULL!! i think the hardest part was getting them all into the field and closing the gate. I didn't really want to let anyone go ahead of time with halters and leadropes trailing and I couldn't maneuver them to get close enough to the gate to shut it. Finally, I let Nadia loose and of course, she tried to wander out through the gate, so I had to walk the other three around her and herd her back. Anyway, I got them all in, shut the gate, pulled off their halters as quickly as I could and they calmly walked about ten feet away and began munching. It seems that they know where they are going and are quite willing to forsake grazing along the way to just pleasantly walk along with me.

Tonight, I decided to try it again. Yalla! is walking better, hardly pulling anymore, ahead or behind if i keep a short lead on her, and Annie is very light on the lead as long as I keep the rope short as well. I let Scout trail behind, holding only the end of the rope, and he seems happy to follow right along. Tonight, Nadia led the group part of the time, a full lead rope ahead of Yalla!, me, and Annie, and part of the time walked on the outside of Yalla! to my left. Annie will travel on either side of me and now it seems that Yalla! will too. I am very proud of my little herd and the way I can walk them all together now.

I left them in the barn again tonight and I plan on walking the four of them out together in the morning. Wish me luck!

In hand - song: You Belong in Rock 'n Roll, artist: Tin Machine featuring David Bowie, album: Tin Machine II


Sydney_bitless said...

When I was in Ireland this is how they lead all the horses out to the field. I lead 4 Irish drafts a quarter of a mile down the road to the field at the same time. Now thats a handful. Good thing they all got along.

fernvalley01 said...

A definite handful! Glad it went well

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Great story. I wish I could have seen it. I consider our two a handful to walk together.

Well done.


Shirley said...

I'd like to do this too, but Belle is too dominant over Velvet; Velvet stays clear of her. So it's one pair at a time for me!

Rising Rainbow said...

Two's enough for me. I tried more one time. Didn't have enough patience.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Well done! I saw you last night leading all 4, and thought that was pretty cool. My only concern would be something spooking them and they would all stampede. Stay safe.